Bridgerton season 3, part 2 is a Regency-worthy raunch-fest success for the franchise: Series Review

Bridgerton season 3, part 2 is a Regency-worthy raunch-fest success for the franchise

Bridgerton season 3, part 2 is a Regency-worthy raunch-fest success for the franchise: Series Review, says Bridget O'Sullivan

Bridget O’Sullivan

By Bridget O’Sullivan

Published: 17/06/2024

- 20:36

The final episodes of Bridgerton season three features the now infamous sex scene between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington

The Bridgerton gods know what they’re doing. They know how to distract us from reality, how to keep fans on tenterhooks the way a bookie keeps a gambler interested; a hint of hope amid heartbreak, flirting with a happy ending, a win.

Drip-feeding episodes so the love story between Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) is never too far from your mind.

But whilst the second instalment of season three of Bridgerton might be moreish, it’s not without flaws.

The way the various plots are threaded together feels formulaic, like a long way from getting to the inevitable ‘everything’s fine, everyone’s okay’ ending.

Even the make-up (see what they’ve done to Newton’s slightly injected and orange Colin) and costumes are less captivating this time around.

The central romance climaxes just after the season’s halfway point, with ‘Polin’, as fans call Colin and Penelope, engaging in a six-minute sex scene on a chaise lounge (a scene which is quickly becoming infamous).

In Bridgerton terms, a couple’s first time is almost more sacred than their wedding.

Here, the sex is somewhat mechanical and neither actor seems completely at ease.

Given how stellar Coughlan’s performance is elsewhere, it’s fair to assume this stiffness is intentional, a nod to Penelope’s sexual naivety and not just Coughlan’s own awkwardness.

The tension around Penelope’s secret alter ego, Lady Whistledown, the town’s resident gossip columnist, plays out anticlimactically.

After Colin finds out he’s marrying the same person who smeared his family’s good name in her gossip column and lied to him about it, the harshest threat he can think to issue is, ‘I shall sleep on the sofa tonight'.

Predictably, it’s not long before Colin shreds his machismo and starts complimenting his wife’s artistic ‘bravery’.

But Colin isn’t the only Bridgerton undergoing a transformation this season.

For a show that has always championed inclusivity, Bridgerton has been criticised in the past for the lack of LGBT+ plots. Season three begins to rectify this. Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) has a three-way fling with a man and a woman.

Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughlan at the Bridgerton season 3, part 2 premiere


But it’s the introduction of a Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza) that has fans demanding season four come sooner. Michaela, it seems, is Francesca Bridgerton’s (Hannah Dodd) future love interest.

Casting the character as a woman (in the books, Michaela was Michael) seems like Bridgerton’s way of gearing up for a Sapphic season of romance.

But perhaps that’s a little premature, seeing as showrunner Jess Brownell confirmed during this week’s London premiere that season four could be as far as two years away.

Whatever trick the Bridgerton team has up its sleeve next, you get the idea that it knows exactly what it’s doing.

Bridgerton seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Netflix now.

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